Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Refreshing Summer Salad Recipe

One of the things I appreciate most about Italy is the food! I think they have the best foods in the world and there isn't a country that does not take a liking. Back in the States, I always ate Italian food as well but it was to my surprise when I came to Italy, that they keep their plates extremely simple. Us Americans like to do the works and put anything and everything to make it more abundant, pretty and colorful. But here, the simpler the better and the more genuine. It does allow you to appreciate every ingredient put into it rather than not being able to figure out what is in it.

I hope to provide many more recipes that I come across in the future but below is a very very simple Tomato Salad Recipe that is both yummy and quick to make for those who are on the go, on a diet, or exhausted from work.

Tomato Salad (Insalata di Pomodoro)
Servings: 2
6 Roma Tomatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar

1. Cut the roma tomatoes into 1/4" full circles and place in a bowl
2. Sprinkle with oregano and salt
3. Drizzle over a moderate amount of olive oil and white wine vinegar
4. Add a little bit of water to give the salad more juicyness but not be overwhelmed with olive oil

And that's it! Very simple! I apologize if I can't give you exact measurements but just use your best judgement like you would with any salad dressing. As you can see, this is very diet friendly as well and the key thing is to get nice fresh tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are known to be in season in the months of (end of) June, July, and August. This is the main time where you can make this salad since the taste of the tomatoes will be the best and hopefully organic.

Hope you enjoy and happy summertime!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Man in a Woman's World

Since the time that I moved to Italy, I have had a struggle with falling into the "traditional" woman's role of housewife. For so long, I have been this independent woman who focused on my career and success. Having worked for as long as I can remember even throughout middle school, high school and college, it was only normal that I became a workaholic and felt fulfilled and accomplished with having a job.

It was scary leaving the workfield. I didn't want to think that I was losing myself or changing myself when I worked so hard to get to where I am and thought I had found myself already. Little did I know that I have barely scratched the surface of fully finding myself. But in reality, I don't think we really do until we pass through all the milestones of our lives. Once I got to Italy, I was determined to find a job. I didn't want to be a housewife and I needed to know that I had my own career as well. That I was contributing to our family income and bringing home the bacon as well. My husband was extremely understanding. He comforted me and assured me that we were fine financially and I didn't need to work. But, he also understood my "need" to work and was completely supportive of my job search.

Then there was his family, the traditional good old Italian family. His mom would always say that I was lucky that we had one salary and that was sufficient and that the man is meant to go out to work everyday and the woman's work is in the house. She actually was trying to assure me that a job was not necessary. I saw where she was coming from, but this is where the culture and generation gap finally clashed.

I believe that my more simple life here has really helped my stress levels and has stopped me from being overloaded back in LA. I have learned how to relax and "enjoy life". However, I still find it difficult to sit too long outside with the girls and just chit chat and people watch. I feel like I have to do something productive or my day was "wasted". Do you see how troubled I am?

Okay, getting on to my point... last year, I finally created my own online design business doing invitations and freelance design. It has been one of my biggest dreams and I made it come true! It couldn't have been a better time to do it with my newly liberated schedule and the search to continue my career. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to be keeping busy and making my days productive.

On top of that, I am still the housewife. I think that back in the States, or back where I live, it is common to have a negative connotation of a housewife. Especially with the high cost of living, it is necessary for the wife and the husband to have a job to be able to live comfortably. I have finally learned that it shouldn't be frowned upon. Now, this is said with a grain of salt. My mother-in-law was correct, being a housewife is a full-time job. There is so much that can be done in the home between cooking and cleaning. It's not a walk in the park if you realize how much can be done in the house.

In my case, I have pushed myself to gain success in the house as well. There is a different satisfaction that I get when I clean the house and see it spotless and when I make a yummy home-made meal. The fulfillment of being productive in the house as well and having your husband come home with such appreciation is priceless. I definitely don't miss the days of coming home from work as well and being grouchy from sitting in traffic and too exhausted to cook.

Anyways, do not misinterpret my words. I believe I am still a true feminist. Which takes me to my final point. Women can do everything! We are strong and are able to multi-task, but we are also affectionate and loving. We can be in the workplace but we can be at home and be the care takers as well. We aren't women in a man's world, the men live in our world. The men live in our world that we have made nice, cozy, and clean home. ;) Whatever you choose to do, do it with heart and with passion and you will find fulfillment.

There is such a thing as spreading yourself too thin, but I am determined to juggle both worlds and do it well. So to all my productive housewives who manage their homes, to my successful career women who can bring home the bucks as well, and for every beautiful, strong, intelligent woman who makes this world a better place... cheers to you! Don't change a thing and love you for who you are.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Amalfi Coast - Meravigliosa!

This past weekend my husband and I went to the Amalfi Coast and visited the neighboring towns of Salerno, Positano, Sorrento and more. It was absolutely breathtaking. You will be amazed to know how different one town can be from another even in Italy. But the Amalfi Coast was everything I have imagined and more! The water was this deep blue that I have never seen before. All the towns sit on the mountains and have such character with their color and magnificent backgrounds.

I might be biased, but I think the Campania Region is the best region of Italy so far. I thought I was in love with Tuscany, well I still am, but there is such diversity to the Campania Region. You have the best of foods with the Mozzarella and Pizza, but you also have some of the most amazing beaches, landscape, and people.

We ended up finding our way in the mountains driving for an endless amount of time through the hillsides and windy roads and decided to stop right where we saw a beach area very very down below. After asking a couple people, we found ourselves driving even higher to find parking. Please note, if you decide to go there, the best thing is by bus or train, or scooter if you want to drive through the mountains. Fortunately, my husband can drive with his eyes closed and maneuvered like a professional. So, after parking our car, having someone accompany us with their mini car down the hill, only to arrive at a long flight of stairs. Then down that flight of stairs was another mini car waiting to drive us down another windy road downhill. Which by the way, felt like either I was on a safari or on the Indian Jones ride at Disneyland. And alas, another flight of stairs to find ourselves in this beautiful secluded beachfront. It was like we were on our own private island. There were umbrellas and lawnchairs to rent but there was no chaos or pollution of cars. Just us, a handful of other guests, a nice bar and restaurant and the clear blue water. It was paradise.

If you ever come to Southern Italy, the Amalfi Coast is a must see. I am still in love with Capri (which is just a boatride away from Amalfi!) and it is still by far my most favorite city in Italy but this entire coastline was just truly unique. I have to admit that I actually got excited when I saw tourists in the city of Amalfi and Salerno. It's been a while since I have been around non-Italians and it gave me such comfort. But, once we were on that beach, I would pick that serenity over the crowds any time. =) I am very lucky to be able to have these experiences and thank God for it every day.